Have you ever paid any attention to how your child breathes? Be sure to take note the next time they are in the room. If you notice that your child breathes mostly through his or her mouth, this is a problem that could affect your child’s growth and development, especially their looks. Your Miami Myofunctional Therapy Center dentist want you to know why interceding poor growth and development early on is important, and what we can do about it if trouble arises.
Why chronic mouth breathing is bad for your child
Breathing through the mouth all of the time actually impacts how a child’s face develops, including their teeth, dental arches, and airway. For mouth breathing to occur, the mouth must be open, with the tongue resting on the floor of the mouth instead of against the roof of the mouth. When this occurs, the upper dental arch becomes narrow, which results in a narrow or restricted airway that leads to obstructive sleep apnea, a serious sleep-breathing disorder. Other developmental concerns arise as the face becomes elongated, and the chin recessed. Often this results in an unfavorable appearance and protruding upper teeth.
Health effects of mouth breathing
Mouth breathing is not healthy for the body, either. It results in poor oxygen levels, which may lead to high blood pressure or cardiac problems. Our bodies are naturally designed to inhale and exhale through the nasal passages, not the mouth. Mouth breathing also dries out the mouth, which may lead to an increased risk of cavities or gum disease.
Research has also discovered a strong link between children who mouth breathe and the development of behavioral disorders such as ADD or ADHD. The reason for this link points to the fact that mouth breathing results in a narrow airway, which is a culprit of obstructive sleep apnea. When sleep apnea is present, the body is starved of air as the airway is restricted or completely blocked while sleeping. The brain will wake slightly, just enough to rouse the body from sleep to get it breathing again. Because of these many awakenings at night, the child may not sleep well, and eventually, exhibit behavioral disorders related to ADD or ADHD or a poor performance in school.
What is causing my child’s mouth breathing?
While there are various causes to mouth breathing, one cause that is known is a tongue-tie. A tongue-tie occurs when the frenum or thin string of tissue under the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth is too restrictive or thick. In these instances, the tongue simply is not able to fully raise to the roof of the mouth, which may result in chronic mouth breathing.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A simple and painless assessment by the experts at Miami Myofunctional Therapy Center can determine if your child’s mouth breathing is caused by a tongue-tie or something else. The tongue-tie can be released without the need for any cutting or sutures. Our state-of-the-art dental laser can release the tissue, freeing the tongue to rest and function properly. Further treatment through a course of myofunctional therapy may be needed to train the mouth and tongue to function properly, and to facilitate nasal breathing.
Frenectomy in Miami
To learn more about tongue-ties or frenectomies, please contact Miami Myofunctional Therapy Center by calling (305) 595-4616 to schedule a consultation.
Miami Myofunctional Therapy Center welcomes patients from Coral Gables and Miami, Florida.